The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time- Bertrand Russell
Now, if you know me, you know I like to plan. A little too much.
I have had positive experiences with this habit, it helps me function (at least that’s what I think) optimally at work, it helps me get my life together in moments where I feel like I am heading down the road of existentialism, it has helped bring clarity in moments where I thought a problem was ginormous, but turned out to be much smaller in comparison.
Planning is great and organizing your thoughts is a fantastic thing. Recommend 10/10.
But there comes a time when you’re known to always be the planner, the organizer, the alpha, the one that brings an event together, the one that takes care of everything and everyone to a point where you… get tired. And you want, just for a little while, to give the reigns to someone else.
Not forever, just for a little while.
So, you plan a holiday.
And I did. For the first time, I would do nothing but book my tickets and let my friends do all the planning. I would go visit them in their individual home cities and do whatever they liked. Let them take all the decisions, whatever made them happy. And I would gladly just tag along and enjoy their company.
This was my holiday. My decision-making-free holiday. And you have no idea how much I looked forward to it.
I applied for a week off (my first in a year), planned with two of the best people I can imagine doing this with, booked my tickets, shopped, bought gifts, excitedly packed everything I needed to and the day I was to leave, was the day I had to unexpectedly cancel my tickets.
But wait, all is not lost. I think the universe had other plans.
You see, before I got my week off, I planned out the things I was supposed to do before I left. It’s but natural to get organized before you go on a holiday. So I divided my prepping days according to what I would need for the 5 days of non-decision making. Which, if I think about it now, it’s kind of ironic. I was contradicting myself without even realizing it.
So as I sat there with my packed suitcases and a confirmation email of my cancelled flights, I thought to myself, “Now what do I do? I didn’t plan for this.”
At first I was thinking of heading back to work. (I know, I know, my mom called me an idiot too). What would I do with 5 days of nothing? Might as well do something productive since what I ‘planned’ to do poofed.
And then the grumbling and whining ensued as I argued with the airlines for a refund, apologized to friends, and unpacked my meticulously organized suitcase. I felt bad, and clearly I was upset. So unconsciously, I spend the whole day mindlessly playing Kingdom Hearts, and looking up the next K-Drama to watch on Netflix. And I slept. A lot.
But when I woke up the next day, something felt a little different. For the first time, in a long time, I was on vacation with nothing to do. I wasn’t obliged to go somewhere, meet people, or finish a set of tasks. I had nothing to do and I reacted in a way any normal, organized person would.
I felt guilty for wasting my precious holiday. I was under this extreme pressure to make the most if it. Invest my time towards my goals and make sure I accomplished something at the end of the day.
(I know, I know, I wanted to smack myself too)
So after an entire morning scrolling through Blackpink fan videos in bed, I decided to give this unplanned thing a try. I would give myself one day to completely bum out, and do whatever I felt like. Then tomorrow, I would go back to figuring how to make the most of the remaining days off.
But just for one day, Niki would be like a kid on the first day of summer vacation. In pajamas, hair in a bun and doing whatever the heck she wanted. Which included reading a book for a few hours, scrolling IG, FB, Pintrest and even Twitter. Then ordering dessert for lunch, whilst huddled under blankets, watching TV shows and when I felt like it, play video games, to a point I fell asleep, having to wake up just in time for dinner. And order more dessert, as I huddled under more blankets and watched more episodes of whatever show peaked my interest.
When I woke up the next morning (after having slept for 12 hours), I realized I have a few more days to spare, I’ll make the most of my holiday tomorrow and couch-potato yet another day. Because you know, I can.
And thus, a lazy routine was born. Between reading, eating, video games and KDrama, a 28 year old girl rediscovered the joy of doing whatever her heart wanted. This obsessive planner and work-towards-your-goals-hustle-hustle-go-go-GO human found peace of mind between a rainy night, tossed pillows on the floor, hot chocolate and Descendants of the Sun.
Slowly, I felt this need of wanting to do something productive ebbed away to a dull pulse.
All I wanted to do now was binge on midnight popcorn and Healer, on ramen and defeating Ursula for what felt like the 10,000th time (God, I hate that boss in all the KH games) and marching my flannel pajamas with my socks.
I was totally owning my Cancer qualities and home-bodying the crap out of my week. And I. DID. NOT. CARE. IF. I. WAS. PRODUCTIVE. OR. NOT.
But let me tell you this, it wasn’t easy. There was a lot to learn and make peace with.
Trying to not do too much
I have always been about experience a ‘moment’ and living in the ‘moment’. But the trick to being spontaneous and enjoying it is to not do a lot. Just pick whatever feels right at the time and roll with it. I read my book, and when I felt like it switched over to another activity. So what if I finished only a 100 pages of this book. I don’t have to finish it. So what if I played half a world and got sick of Ursula and wanted to smack my TV? No rush.
Doing whatever feels right at that moment is quite frankly not something that comes easily to me since I always plan my time off. But for this one week, I gave myself the freedom to let my heart decide. Just for a little while.
Staying the heck away from your phone
Repeat after me, being spontaneous is a thing that you do. Sometimes you need the help of your phone to decide what to do (like what KDrama to watch) but to be able to thoroughly enjoy it, is to stop checking you phone. For anything. For emails, for IG story updates, for mindless FB scrolls into the oblivion of video suggestions that are like a black hole.
You’d enjoy something a whole lot better if you weren’t so distracted. And honestly, in this time and age, people check their phones out of habit even whilst watching a movie. On FULL brightness (excuse you!) So in order to enjoy spontaneity don’t be on your phone more than you have to do.
Noticing the small stuff
Because I was taking everything extra slow in my holiday week, I began to notice the smaller things that were so random, but made me happy. For example, my couch has huge pillows. If I toss all the pillows on the carpet floor, lug in my Winnie the Pooh blanket and settle my back against the front of the couch, it was cosier while watching TV in the dark. And even more comfortable than sitting on my couch.
Or, if I draw my curtains in a certain way, it blocks out a lot of the street light and makes my room much warmer in the mornings. Perfect for just staying in bed in rolling around in bliss and pure laziness.
The simple things, which usually go unseen in the hustle of everyday life, are now easily noticeable. And I suggest to keep an eye out for as many of them as you can.
Trying (try being the keyword) to not feel guilty
Making the most of anything has always been my strong suite. But trying not to feel guilty about ‘wasting something’ takes me a while. Was I feeling so guilty that it made me want to go back to work? Yes. Was I feeling guilty for not using my free time to actually get my pending list of small items done? Yes. Was I feeling guilty for not being useful around the house and epitomizing a sloth? Very yes.
But, luckily I had the best people around me giving me the space to bring out my inner koala, not making me feel bad about it and just letting me be a blanket burrito roll with socks.
And you should too. Try to not feel guilty about taking a break when you hardly do, and just letting yourself be lazy. Nothing is going to fall to pieces and burn to the ground if you let go for a little while.
And if letting go is still something hard for you to do, then think of this as time you are giving yourself to recharge your soul to come back even more refreshed.
Now, finally and most importantly, feeling oh so grateful that you are allowed to take a break to begin with. The fact that you have the luxury to do what you like is a really big deal. And not many people have that. So despite the ruined plans and the grumbling, I am still very thankful for having a week to be able to do whatever I liked and whatever made my heart happy.
Introspectively, we always think how great it would be to have a life that we didn’t have to take a holiday from. But the other side to that is if we had a holiday-perfect life every day, then maybe we wouldn’t be able to appreciate a good break for what it truly brings. Why? Because we wouldn’t know the hustle to be able to enjoy the pause.
But what is stopping us from being this way outside your holiday period? Not inexplicably lazy, of course, but taking things slow once in a while, making no plans and being spontaneous. Staying away from your phone, not out of frustration, but out of sheer will to be in the moment?
We can’t have a holiday every day and we shouldn’t fully act like our holiday selves during our everyday routine. But nothing wrong in merging a few harmless traits that would still help you wind down. And maybe teach you that no matter how much you plan, things don’t always have to go the way you imagined it.
And that can sometimes prove to be better than what you had in mind in the first place.
What is the most spontaneous thing you have ever done?
Be spontaneous when you need to,